As we begin a new year, I have reflected over the past four in regards to homeschooling. When we decided homeschooling was Madison’s best option, and by we, I mean Madison, Jeff and I, it was because she was bored to tears in school. I gave her the choice to be in charge of her education. Everyone thought I was crazy. Everyone. Except Jeff, Madison, and Alyssa. 🙂 I was told “How can you teach her when you don’t even have a degree?” I’ll never forget that one. What I knew that no one else realized, was I wasn’t going to teach her. I was going to provide her the tools she needed to learn. And how did I know this? Madison told me. 🙂 It takes a lot of trust in a 7-year-old and God.
I feel like at this point I am near the end of my journey. Madison set goals when she was 7, and this year she has achieved a couple of them, starting college and taking the ACT by the age of 12. She was accepted into community college and will begin her class next week. She is also set to take the ACT in February. Well, she actually obtained those two goals earlier than she thought she would at age 11. I had told Jeff and my father that she was on track to hit those at 12 and I know even though they were very supportive they thought I was a little off. 😂😂😂😂 Until she passed the entrance tests with flying colors and enrolled a year earlier than she expected.
I know her education path has been very different from most. She enjoyed learning at home until we got to the point where she was bored and we knew it was time to take the next step. There have been times where it has been hard for both of us. It wasn’t always a walk in the park but, for the most part, it was fun, and most importantly Madison is happy.
In the beginning of our journey I really cared what others thought. What got me through was telling myself, time will tell. Don’t worry about anyone else, because in the end, time will tell.
Now we are at the point where time has told. What’s funny is, I thought when I got to this point, I would feel like “HA! I told you so.”. Or “See, I’m not crazy!”. But I don’t feel any of those things. I’m just happy, because Madison is happy. I am SO grateful I didn’t listen to the naysayers and I realized how blessed I am to have the support from those who believed in us. Both the ones that got it and the ones who didn’t, but didn’t judge. ❤️❤️❤️
Madison has always had this unwavering sense of confidence when it has come to her education. Maybe it’s the innocence and naiveness of her age, but I am baffled by it and am in awe of it at the same time. It has really inspired me. She doesn’t care what others think. It honestly doesn’t matter to her. And she doesn’t see any obstacles in the path she wants to achieve.
The eye-opening moment to this was when we approached the college counsellors for her to enroll in dual credit. I knew she was at college level without a doubt and I knew she wasn’t about to do high school and then college. She needed to do both at the same time. So, when we met with the counsellors, the first thing we heard at the beginning of the meeting was, “no way, absolutely not”. This was in regard to her enrolling. I remained calm, but was freaking out on the inside. I worked on opening up that this was what she needed and the focus went to her. She was honest, and herself, and that did it. It was obvious to all in that meeting that she was the driving force of her education. I volunteered to have her take the college entrance exams which usually aren’t required for dual credit, but I knew since she hadn’t taken the ACT or SAT yet that they would need some validation that she was college ready. After the meeting I was so happy it ended with the outcome Madison had been working so hard for. I expressed to her how close we were to not having it happen and how worried I was. She responded to me with amazement, “Really? I didn’t catch that at all. Being told no was never even an option for me.” And again, all I could do was smile and shake my head, just as I have done every step of the way through this journey.
So again, as I reflect, I am blown away at how Madison has achieved what she has set out to achieve. I have learned not to care what anyone thinks. Honestly, their opinions or thoughts really don’t matter. And throughout this process we have learned who genuinely cares about Madison and I as people, and who doesn’t. That used to hurt me and make me angry, but now it doesn’t. I’ve accepted it and it’s a much better place to be. Along the way there have been the few who have always been positive and happy for Madison and I have expressed to some, how grateful I am. There are still some I need to thank. These few supporters make such a positive impact that it drowns out the many that have been negative.
I do not know what the future holds for Madison, but as long as she is happy with what she’s doing, I’m happy. ❤️💕
And for anyone that asks “Why?”, “Why would she go to college now?”, she responds with, why not? 😉
I could shout this article to the rooftops. It’s such a great read, I felt the need to share it.
One of these days I am going to go back and read all of the posts I’ve written on this blog. I am so grateful I wrote them so Madison and I can go back at any time and read the wonderful times and the challenging times. She often checks the blog to read these posts. I am hoping to have her start writing some posts that will share her perspective. She articulates this journey much better than I do because it is directed by her. I plan to turn this into a book for her as a type of ‘yearbook.’
The point we are at in her journey now is because of where it started. The backstory is important. Madison was frustrated in public school in First Grade. It was more than just frustration, it turned into depression. The slowest student in the class dictated the speed for the entire class. It just happened that this student came to the school in First Grade not even knowing their letter sounds. Madison’s teacher didn’t understand her. Anyway after testing through the school and then by a psychologist and not making any progress advocating, I decided to homeschool Madison the following year with the intention of sending her to a private school when a spot opened. The spot opened during that year for the next year and she made the decision to continue to homeschool instead.
At that point I told her that we could go slow (meaning stay at grade level) and she could have all the time in the world to do whatever she wanted to do or we could go full speed ahead and she could go to college early and choose whatever degrees she wanted. Her choice at 7 years old was to go full speed ahead.
Why did I give her this choice? I did a major amount of research and followed the parents on Facebook who had pulled their gifted children to homeschool as well and shared their journeys. I read articles on what can happen if you try to make a gifted child fit into a box. I read how they are more prone to drugs, suicide, criminal activity, depression….They know they are different and sometimes don’t really fit in and that takes a toll. When Madison was in First Grade two Gifted and Talented high school students commuter suicide. There were a lot of factors that determined our decisions and none of them were for her to be a ‘super star.’ Each gifted child is different and we made our decisions based on what was best for Madison and what she wanted. Becoming educated on gifted children is key when making decisions. This was and still is one of the main blogs I referred to and it helped me in so many, many ways. Crushing Tall Poppies
Was having a child who flew through grade levels fun? Yes, at times it was really cool. Other times I stayed awake freaking out and some nights I woke up in a full sweat worrying if I was doing the right thing. Madison reassured me the entire way. lol. Looking back I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Ok, there is one thing. I wouldn’t have bought curriculum for the future. 🙄 We didn’t use a lot of what I bought in comparison to what she used.
So as of right now I am glad we chose to radically accelerate and so is Madison. I had to do an enormous amount of trusting my gut and her when she said she knew something and wasn’t going to do it again. She didn’t want to diagram sentences. She didn’t want to do worksheets of any sort. She wouldn’t use anything that resembled a textbook.
Later. Later is realizing you think the online classes she is taking are great, but not enough anymore. It’s when your gut tells you that she needs to be out of the house and back into a classroom and that 5 years is enough. And you know the only way she’ll be content is at a college taking dual credit courses.
This thought came pretty suddenly about a month ago. So I showed Madison the core classes and asked if this was what she wanted to do. She was kind of shocked because she’s scheduled to take the ACT this upcoming February and her thought was to possibly start college classes the following school year. Her original goal when she was 7 was to take the ACT when she was 12. And we though that was a reach then.
During this journey she has had so many wonderful experiences and each had its ‘season.’
She took the TSI (college placement test for Texas) and ended up being very college ready for Reading and English. She missed being college ready for Math by 3 points. This told me I made the right decision and at the right time. I do not think she would have been ready last year even if she would have passed.
Next week Madison will register for one class for the Spring Semester. She will also continue her current online classes. She is really excited.
Is radical acceleration for everyone? Nope. But if you have a PG child that loves to learn and wants to experience many things then I think it is. She is not trying to fast track to an Ivy League school. Maybe she’d like to go to one down the road, but she’s not leaving until she’s 18 as far as I’m concerned right now. Right now she wants to learn at a higher level in a classroom setting and this is the only way she can. We are taking things one step at a time and figuring them out as we go.
I know many people think radical acceleration is not the way to go for any child. They are also the same people that think kids need to be socialized like dogs. 😂🤣 Anyway, my next post will be addressing that because we really haven’t.
During the time I have homeschooled Madison I have noticed that she makes major educational jumps. They are hard to explain. When she learns things she ‘jumps’ five times ahead of what she’s learned. They aren’t just jumps, they’re big jumps. I’ve had to forgo using a lot of curriculum that I had already bought due to these jumps. She was already past what I had planned.
At the beginning of this October I realized I didn’t have what she needed for next year. I have curriculum and she could have taken more online classes, but it’s not what she needed. She needed to take college courses. She’s already bored this year because she jumped. There were many indicators that helped me realize this. She isn’t scheduled to take the ACT until February, so I needed her to take the TSI (it’s a Texas College placement exam.)
Along this journey, I have learned to listen to my intuition and I’m glad I did and continue to do so. This week Madison took the TSI and my gut was right. She is ready to take college classes. For reading she scored 378. 390 is a perfect score and 350 is needed to pass. She scored the exact same on the multiple choice English test and got a 7 out of 8 on the essay section. You need a score of 4 or 5 to pass. Passing means college ready. She will be taking the Math test tomorrow. We know her score on that won’t even be remotely close to her Reading/English scores, but that’s ok. She’s more than college ready for courses that do not involve Math or Science that requires a certain level of Math.
So I will be writing upcoming posts on dual credit/college enrollment, radical acceleration, and Madison’s new journey. She will be enrolling in one class for this Spring semester along with her current year-long online courses at home and she couldn’t be anymore excited. She’s been looking forward to being back in a classroom and she knew this was the only way she could.
Madison loves to create. Especially when it comes to nature. She builds things with mud and leaves and sticks. Someday I am sure I’ll understand why she has done this since she could walk. But for now I don’t try to make sense of it, I just enjoy that she’s happy.
She is on a journey that she has chosen. One that I have stressed out about since the day we made the decision to homeschool. And one that I still do not understand, but have leaned it’s not my choice to. It just is what it is and she is who she is. 🙂
As our path has gone faster than the goals she had initially set for herself, there have been many hoops that we have had to jump through. And despite all of the hoops things are falling into place.
As part of this new journey, Madison is required to get a State ID card. Loaded with paperwork and documents we set off to our local DPS office. Upon arrival and after standing in a line to get into the DPS office I was told I was missing one piece of a supporting document. At this point I was frazzled since it was already over an hour wait. The sweetest lady checking us in suggested Madison take the number in line and to go wait if she was comfortable doing so while I ran home to get her immunization record. ❤️💕 I wish I would have gotten her name and I might go back later just to see what her name was because she was SO kind to everyone there and that was amazing beyond words in itself and she should be recognized for that. Anyone who goes above and beyond should.
So I ran home to grab the immunization record I had just gotten a couple of days prior when Madison received her meningitis vaccine and flu mist. I am always questioning if what we are doing is the right thing. I know in my heart it is, but sometimes the logic gets in the way and self doubt seeps in. As I was driving back to the DPS office and self doubting, the song ‘The Wall’ by Pink Floyd came on the radio. And with that a smile came across my face along with a sense of peace. The self-doubt vanished.
When I returned to the DPS office Madison was sitting quietly reading her book. We waited for another couple of hours and then we were up.
I had the State ID form filled out, her birth certificate, social security card, immunization record, and an affidavit for proof of residency with my two required documents. We needed an affidavit because Madison couldn’t prove residency on her own with the documents needed. The paperwork was turned in, Madison’s thumb prints were taken and her picture and viola….she is now the proud 11 year old child of a Texas State ID.
She sailed through the second hoop of her recent journey. The rest of the hoops and the back story is yet to come….. Two down and seven more to go…
Having a child that isn’t like other children her age is challenging. Not only it is challenging for them intellectually, it is challenging emotionally and socially. And thus, it’s challenging for a parent to meet all of those needs. Especially at one time.
Madison found her “tribe” through the resources offered for Davidson Young Scholars and was so happy. She loves the online classes and her classmates from the online classes offered by Davidson Academy and Athena’s Advanced Academy. She has found her tribe online for the most part, but it’s also important to find it locally as well. Sometimes that can seem daunting and impossible. It can take many tries to find it by trying new things that you wouldn’t think would be a fit. It also may be a matter of waiting until the right age.
Over the years, Madison has found her tribe in different places. And when one door closed or stopped being the same you have to look for a new door to open.
Helping them find their tribe is very, very important. For a PG kid I feel it’s more important than academics. And listening to them on what works and what doesn’t is important as well. And of course actions speak louder than words, so you must have your eyes wide open.
It takes work as a parent of a gifted child to provide them with opportunities that allow them to choose their interests and what they like. And to be ok with them changing their mind. It can’t be based on what’s easiest or is in a parent’s best interest.
And that my friends is why parents of gifted kids are exhausted. LOL. But to see the happiness and the smiles is worth it all. Not just that, but the sense of fitting in. The sense of belonging to something that is bigger than just yourself and making a difference. Seeing that in your child is worth all of the ups and downs and changes.
Madison leads and we follow and support her, but we also provide different opportunities and make her move outside her comfort zone to try different things. You can’t grow if you are always comfortable.
She has to make sure she has had a change of heart before dropping something. It isn’t an instantaneous thing. It’s a process that takes awhile. And so is finding new interests.
Madison is always evolving. She always has and always will. I like structure and constants. I’ve had to move out of my comfort zone and have had to adapt to her choice of changing and growing. I had to make sacrifices financially for myself to make opportunities available for her (since she is not old enough to work.) I have had to continuously research different opportunities and activities for her. I have had to put myself in her shoes to think of good fits to pursue. And so far it’s been a great ride and continues to be. They are only young once and we only get one shot.
A child may be good at something, like really good, but that doesn’t mean they will enjoy it for the long run and that is ok. ❤️💕 It’s actually more than ok. Keep seeking new opportunities to try all the time. Some will click and a tribe might be found in the process. Many times over with the different seasons of life.
I love this post and I think it is such an important reminder that we set an example to our children to fulfill our civic duty and pass the importance of they on to them. ❤️💕 Please take a moment to read this post. It is worth the while!
“The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government…” Mid-terms are upon us and it’s time to turn our attention to the voting booth. As citizens of this constitutional republic, wherein we are blessed to participate in this experiment of self-governance, we have a civic duty to be proactive in electing representatives and voting on legislation.
~ U.S. Constitution – Article 4 Section 4
As parents, not just “homeschoolers”, it’s our duty to teach our children about fulfilling their civic duties. While our children’s textbooks taught them government and civics, we thought it was time to start putting what they learned into practice. So this year I decided to include the whole family in the voting process; a practice we intend to continue, hopefully, for the rest of our lives.
Begin the Voting Process With Prayer
During the Constitutional Convention, Ben Franklin declared:
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When Madison went to public school I saved all of her papers. Every single one. It’s a good thing she only attended Kinder and First Grade. 😉
I went though all of these papers recently to throw away the ones that I didn’t want to keep. As I did this many thoughts and emotions emerged. I had no idea something so simple would illicit such feelings, but it did.
It was fun to see her creativity in her drawings. I kept all of those. As I looked at each of the worksheets I felt awful. They were dull, boring and redundant. The memories of her coming home crying because school was so boring and awful all came flooding back. I feel horrible that I made her go through that and I wish I could take it back. At least I can be grateful she didn’t have to endure any more than she did. The learning at public school versus homeschooling was a night and day difference. That is why I feel so guilty now.
Here is the stack I recycled:
And here is the stack that I kept:
Worksheets just cannot replace hands on learning. It’s not the same. Especially in First Grade. 😢 But, this wasn’t what made me feel the worst.
As I went through her papers I found the one that broke the camel’s back. The one that solidified my decision to homeschool after much advocating. The squirrel math sheet.
If only I had known it was going to be so much more than me being mad about this one worksheet that was worth 5 or 6 objectives on the grade card…..
As you can see…Madison had to represent the equation by drawing pictures. She got this one wrong because even though In her mind the squirrel at the bottom of the tree is ‘running up’ because his feet are on the tree, but she was counted wrong because the squirrel’s rear is on the ground.
What did that mean? It means Madison did not know what 12-4 was. 🙄 Along with 5 other objectives on the grade card. All based on this worksheet. I found that to be insane.
Little did I know…because she was required to draw pictures, write words, make tallies, AND draw either a number line or the circle chart as you see above, as well as write the equation, this would prove to become a huge issue. When she started homeschooling she didn’t think she could solve a problem WITHOUT doing these. 😳😳😳😳
There were major tears for a long time. And apparently she wasn’t the only one. I heard it was the same for a couple of other kids that were pulled to homeschool at the same age.
As I was sorting through her papers, I looked back on this time in her life and felt guilty. I tried to advocate for her best interest and failed, and had a lot of bitterness and resentment towards those who chose not to help. When I started homeschooling I felt Madison was missing out on those special activites her former classmates got to participate in. But now…..I realize this was all a blessing in disguise.
Madison didn’t miss out at all and I am grateful my advocating failed. If it hadn’t, she would have missed out on SO much more. She is a happy kid. She definitely was miserable in school and I know it would have gotten worse. I got my kid back before I lost her forever. Her creativity, outside the box thinking, everything that makes her, her is still there. She was not molded to fit inside the box. She has the freedom to do what she wants, when she wants and how she wants. Don’t get me wrong, she still has teachers, assignments and due dates, but now she loves her teachers and her assignments. She loves her online classes as well as working in groups with classmates from across the country. She’s even had opportunities to meet many of the teachers and classmates in person.
Madison has always known what is best for her and what she wants to do. I couldn’t be more proud of her.
From that day forward she chose the destiny of the squirrels. 😉
This year we are keeping things pretty straight forward as far as classes go. Madison is taking Prealebra 2, and then Intro to Algebra A, Critical Reading and Writing, Biology, World Geography, and Philosophy. She is also continuing Wordly Wise Book 8.
So far this year has been busy, but great. She is currently getting A’s in all of her classes.
Madison was excited to get her Invisalign and has been doing a great job wearing her trays.
Yesterday I felt as though a big weight had been lifted off of my shoulders regarding Madison’s future education. I will write a post on why when we have details solidified. 🙂
Raising Madison has been a trip. She’s a trip. There’s no other way to explain it really.
In a nutshell, I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I agreed to homeschool her. I had no idea what she could accomplish was even possible and I second guessed myself a lot along the way. I stayed up at night worrying and even woke up in sweats from fear of making the wrong choice.
Faith. Having faith is what got us to where we are today. Faith in Madison and in myself. It was actually easier to have faith in her than it was to have it in myself.
I chose the picture of her on her first day of Second grade. This was our first year of homeschooling. She hated public school. I will always regret making her go. She went for two years and begged and cried all through First grade begging me to homeschool her. We had her tested and advocated to no avail, so I agreed. She joined Mensa at the age of 6 in hopes of finding connections and for me to find support. I did a lot of research and found really good groups online to help.
I started this blog to document our journey and I am SO glad I did. When we started out I told her that she could go as slow as she wanted and could have a ton of free time or as fast as she wanted. She chose fast. She hasn’t deviated from that at all.
I learned very quickly that Madison only has to learn something once and she’s got it. She doesn’t need to review. Unless it’s Math. That’s a different story. That was a hard concept for me to grasp. That it was possible for someone to be able to do that.
I was questioned pretty hard by my family when we made this choice, so at the end of Second grade, I tested her with the Iowa Basic Skills Test for Second grade. That was a joke, she maxed the entire thing out. So, at the beginning of Third grade I gave her the Fourth grade Iowa. Again, maxed it out. I waited until the end of Fourth grade and gave her the Seventh grade Iowa. She didn’t max it out, but she passed with flying colors. At that point I decided we were good and I didn’t need to test her again and I haven’t. Family was appeased. I was freaked out.
We utilized advance curriculum for awhile and did all the hands on homeschooling events we could. The science museum, orchestra, art museum, etc. She had a blast, but they got repetitive after awhile. During this time, I really had to learn to trust her. I would have to ask her what she already knew, because she didn’t want to waste time relearning it. It was a very scary time for me. I just had to pray I was doing the right thing. During this time I also let her choose what she wanted to learn.
Our paths connected with a group of people who who had PG children (profundity gifted.) They spoke of the Davidson Young Scholar Program and how much support it provided. I had just had Madison retested through our psychologist for a neurological evaluation and she qualified for this program, but I was intimidated for applying for some reason. I was already overwhelmed and it seemed like extra work, but with encouragement, I did. Thank God I did.
When Madison was accepted, the doors started opening. It was like the clouds parted for the sun to shine through.
I knew that there would be a point when I could no longer teach Madison. Ha! That statement isn’t really true, let me rephrase that. I knew there would come a time when Madison wouldn’t be able to solely teach herself. 😉 I was waiting to sign her up for online courses until that time, because they were expensive.
That time came sooner than we expected just because she needed the social interaction of like peers. The Davidson Academy has accredited online classes. We signed her up and she LOVED it. We also signed her up for courses through Athena’s Advanced Academy. She loved those too. She did online chess lessons with the same peers and suddenly everything came full circle. She was having friends she knew from different areas of learning that were part of other areas. She became super excited. And this summer she got to meet them in person. ❤️💕
It works so much better for us when she has a teacher and a classroom, even if it’s online. I’m not a teacher, I never was, and I never will be. LOL. I’m ok with that. I am a facilitator for Madison’s education. That’s always been my role and will continue to be.
She wants to go to college when she’s 12. That’s been her goal from day one. We have her enrolled in the Duke Tip 7th grade talent program and she’s scheduled to take the ACT next year. We did a practice test without prep and she did very well.
Her goal is to start dual credit classes online through the community college. That’s her goal. So, if she can pass the ACT so I have some scores to take to them that either they’ll accept or will convince them to let her take the TSI then I think we have a path laid out. She’s a pro at online classes already. She sets the goals and I do the advocating and try to figure out how to make them work. The age requirement for dual credit classes is 14. Thus, the need to advocate.
I can’t think about it too much or it blows my mind and I stress out and worry. She’s always been the one telling me that it’s ok.
Now, as far as childhood is concerned. I have heard more times than not, just let them be a kid. Well, I have learned along the way that there are different definitions of that. I am doing what makes Madison happy. Her path isn’t robbing her of being a kid. If I made her do what society defines as being a kid, she’d be miserable. We tried not doing much academically. “Taking a break.” It’s just not who she is.
And my definition of what a childhood is is not hers. So when I mourn the ‘loss’ of her not being a kid, I’m just mourning something she doesn’t fit into. That’s not something to mourn. It’s something to embrace and be proud of, because it’s who she is and it’s what makes her happy. And don’t get me wrong, that kid still can’t go outside with getting muddy from head to toe, every.single.time. She’s definitely a kid. But she also enjoys putting together complex LEGO kits while listening to audio books in her free time or writing books. She’s totally self driven and it’s almost impossible to make her do anything she doesn’t want to do.
I don’t have a handbook. There isn’t one for kids like this. All I have is the wisdom of those that have gone down this path before me and the peers that I learn from everyday that are figuring out the same path. I take their experience and keep it close to my heart. We are making it up as we go. And we are finally at the point where her goals that she set from the beginning are in sight.
This article made me feel much better.
When you have a child like this you have to trust them. Figure out how to provide what they need to accomplish their goals. Always follow their lead. And don’t think about it too much. Just understand it’s your reality and accept it. Even if it freaks you out. ❤️ Love then for who they are and support them 100%. Listen to them.
When we started Third grade, Madison refused to hold a First Day of School sign that had a grade. 😉 Maybe she will in 2019-2020. LOl.